FiOS Growing Pains at Verizon?

A Verizon customer shares his frustrations with Verizon’s new FiOS internet service.

A Technology Evangelist reader has shared with us some major frustrations he’s had with Verizon’s new FiOS service.

First, a FiOS definition: FiOS (fiber optic service) is the latest technology option for residential high speed internet access. Internet access is provided over fiber optic cables rather than coaxial cables or copper phone lines, allowing for faster data transmission at comparable prices to cable or DSL. Verizon is currently rolling out FiOS internet service in select markets across the United States.

Bill Kelm of decided to switch to FiOS from DSL in hopes of reaching faster download speeds. However, he has been met with disappointment and frustration both with setup and support. He has posted a three part series on his web site explaining the trouble he’s gone through trying to get is set up properly. A few highlights: Integrating the service with his network proved to be very difficult, the download speeds were much lower than anticipated, and once frustrated to the point of wanting to return to his previous DSL connection, he was told that he could not go back to DSL.

We at Technology Evangelist haven’t had a chance to test FiOS out yet, since it’s not available in our town, so we’re throwing the following questions out to all of you:

Have you tried FiOS yet?

Did you have any problems transitioning to the service?

How do the speeds compare to your previous service?

Do you have any ideas why a FiOS customer wouldn’t be able to revert to DSL at a later date?

30 thoughts on “FiOS Growing Pains at Verizon?”

  1. My main problem with Verizon is the lack of upfront disclosure about “No Turning Back” to their DSL service.
    Also, my situation was a unique one with a special Buffalo router and many access points that had somewhat of a “proprietary” bridging system set up between access points.
    However, my speeds are better than DSL according to the “Miranda” speed test, but vary from a little faster to much faster with my “5/2” FiOs plan that I bought.
    I am still waiting for a return of my e-mail to a FiOS Tech Supervisor, so I have not installed the Wireless D-Link (with special firmware) router yet. Once installed I’m hoping the range in speeds won’t be as big.
    Bill Kelm

  2. To answer your first question, I’m sure many customer installations go smoothly, but here is what a Jupiter Media analyst who is technically oriented had to say about his installation experience:
    The speeds are faster, but how much depends on many factors. Wireless network systems with many computers far from the router usually have a wide range of speeds over a week’s time of checking them. At least this is my experience.
    I don’t know if Verizon is “able” to revert back to DSL service at a later date as the copper network interface device is made inative or removed at the same time as the FiOS installation. But, I do know that their strategy is to have the customer remain on the fiber vs. revert back to the copper wire. All that is fine, if they just disclose this info to their DSL customers upfront.
    I’m not sure, but I’ve heard rumors of “packaged pricing” that bundles phone, internet, and TV-Video services together at a lower price than buying the three separately from three different vendors. This will help Verizon take revenue from the cable and satellite TV companies. I understand their business goals, all I ask is for clear, conspicuous, complete, and comprehended upfront disclosure that Verizon’s FiOS policy is “no turning back” to Verizon DSL once the Verizon DSL customer agrees to installation and “tries” FiOS with a 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee.

  3. I am currently a FIOS user. Previously I used Verizon’s DSL service and I can attest to faster download speeds, though not being a techie I cannot give you any metrics to support my claim.
    My issue has been with FIOS customer service and billing. The former seems to be populated with people who have no experience in this field – they all seem to be getting their training while on the phone with me.
    Moreover, I have had nothing but nightmares in dealing with the billing for my new FIOS service. It took nearly six months before my FIOS charges began appearing on my regular Verizon bill. Until then I was being billed separately. As you might expect I did not receive any of the multi-product user discounts to which I was entitled until I complained to their customer service.
    Now, as soon as I have one problem with my regular Verizon bill my FIOS charges will again be billed separately. Talk about forcing an early adopter customer to jump through hoops to get their new service…!!!
    I desperately want to continue using FIOS for all of the future benefits Verizon will make available. However, they sure don’t make it easy!!!

  4. My FIOS experience was a smooth one. I got the service about 4 or 5 months ago. I had Verizon DSL, and the FIOS is a lot faster and more reliable. My DSL used to go out for 5-10 minute period every now and then, but this has never happened with FIOS. I don’t have the numbers handy, but I had ran one of those speed benchmark pages, and I was getting the speeds advertised. Everything worked right away, and I have not had any problems at all with the service.
    I just got a flyer for FIOS TV service. I currently have DirecTV. I need to evaluate their service to see if I should switch – it seems less expensive.

  5. I am having FIOS installed on Feb 3rd.
    I am a bit nervous after reading some of these emails. I am coming from Comcast Cable. I am doing this because of cost and I am told the download / upload speeds are equivalent if not faster.
    I cannot get DSL because my neighborhood is all fiber wiring. I do have a friend who has Fios and has not had any issues and thinks it’s great. You cannot go back to DSL because of the fiber installation. Apparently the installation is in the vicinity of $1500 per residence for all the wiring and hardware from the pole to the residence. Verizon does not want to pay for it twice.

  6. It could be much worse!
    I had the horrible experience of being
    discontinued, cut off, by Verizon Fios,. They actually deleted my account (probably when they discovered I was a VOIP customer of another phone company). I
    This meant I had no phone, no internet, no nothing. It was BAD. I finally got it back, and they could not give me a credible reason for axing me.
    I was troubleshooting their router for hours because they TOLD me too (hah! and that was AFTER my account was deleted)
    The whole experience leaves a bad memory.
    and yes, we always paid our bills ahead of time.
    I wrote to the CEO, Seiderburg (sp)
    He never wrote back.
    Nobody ever wrote back.
    They don’t care.
    Yes, the customer is a sucker.
    ‘Verizon, we’ve stop working once we gotcha!’

  7. Verizon is anxious to get people onto Fiber because once they do, they are no longer obliged to make their copper lines available to other DSL providers. You can ask them to leave your copper line in place; this should allow you to rollback if needed.

  8. Comment #7 by Jason sounds optimistic that Verizon will actually let someone go back to DSL if you ask nicely. “Brian’s Braindump” has a post that says something “sounded overly fishy” when Verizon asked him for a major credit card before they would do that = . I agree with Brian, as it is not in Verizon’s best interest to let you go back according to facts stated in OM Malik’s post =
    Today I posted an update to my “No Turning Back” from FiOS to DSL post about the fact that Verizon is now, at least on their “FiOS At Home” web site, inconspicuously disclosing that they “may in our discretion terminate your DSL Service and no longer make DSL service available to your location.” This written disclosure came, I believe, as a result of many mentions on the Internet about that particular FiOS policy which was previously not disclosed on their web site.

  9. I had a knock on my door yesterday (a Saturday of memorial day weekend) and was told by a young man standing there in a FiOS shirt that he was there to upgrade me to FiOS (to do the paperwork). I said I didn’t want it and he told me that I had no choice because my DSL service was going away. I asked him “When?” and he said “Next month.”
    This is not only the first I have heard of this, but I also began thinking, that if Verizon wants to point to greater uptake of their FiOS service to the markets, one way to accomplish this is by forcing customers off their DSL service…I’m not at all saying they are doing this, but I can’t believe a company of their size would send a 20 year old door to door to tell customers they must change their service. Why wasn’t I notified in my bills? Why wasn’t I sent an email explaining what is going on?
    It seems to me that this type of behavior is one reason that many cities and towns are pursuing citywide wireless–for more choice…

  10. I will not be using Verizon FIOS because of the disasteres I experienced with Verizone on December 28, 2006. They were supposed to install my FIOS that day. They had laid the fiber line from the street to my house before Christmas. The Verizon tech had called the day before saying he would be there between 8 and 12 the next day. When he had not arrived by 12 I called the number on my contract and was told by a Verizon rep that I had rescheduled for the end of January. When I told her I had not rescheduled she said she would have to talk to her supervisor and get back to me. At 2:30 my wife decided she was not going to call us back and called the number that was left on her cell phone. The person listened to the problem and said she would have to switch us to her supervisor because there was a problem with the service order. When my wife was connected to the supervisor that person hung up on her. She called another number that was written down on the side of the contract. That person listened and passed us off to her supervisor who said she did not know what the problem was but there was a problem with the service order. She gave us another number to call. After two more people we finally got intouch with someone at Virizon that could tell us what happened. They did not have the equipment to install the service at our house. I decided I was not going to wait for another installation team that may nor may not arrive so we canceled the service, we switched back to ATT ($65 reconnect charge). Between the reconnect charge and the lost day of vacation, I figure this endevor cost me over $500. No way will Verizon ever be my provider. If your phone, internet and/or TV went down would it take them 30 days to get it back up and running?

  11. I just can’t stand Verizon’s theory on customer service. As a business customer, I set up and manage about 25 separate accounts with them, and I regret having to set up more in the future. Their confusing, red-tape, backwards way of settiing up orders, especially FIOS, since it is a newer product, is not customer friendly. Are there any alternatives though, when cable is not available either?

  12. And I thought I was the one that was being messed with by verizon. I had one missed installation date, billing problems, have had my account both disabled and cancelled for non-payment (I have only had the service for a month and a half and have yet to receive a bill), and have spent at least 12 hours of my life on the phone with tech support, billing, collection, and the local office, none of which seems to have the big picture – at least not enough of it to fix a problem. I’m considering dropping them, but I’m hoping they get it together. I left comcast with total disgust for them, now verizon is starting to feel that way too. One mistake I think I made was having the tech who did the install keep my phone line on copper – I think it messed up their internal databases – customer service reps never seemed to know who I should be talking too. Hint to verizon – If a customer asks if you must put their phone on fios, the answer is YES. I tried to resolve the problem by arranging to have the phone line cut over to fios – that’s when my account was cancelled (could be a coincidence?). As far as rolling back, I was told that if I cancelled FIOS they would come out and re-connect the copper line.

  13. My request was for Verizon TV only. Verizon hooked up TV, internet and phone to FIOS in error. They removed copper and have now replaced copper. I now have no phone and on internet at home. Verizon has been working for two days to correct the error.
    Has anyone been sucessful in going back to verizon copper for phone and DSL?

  14. In most cities, verizon, as the ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) will be what is known as the “provider of last resort.” As such, I believe that they are required to provide you with phone service if you request it, in order that you receive 911 service. Thus, if you cancel FiOS, they would probably be required to put you back on copper. They don’t, however, have any requirement to provide you with DSL.

  15. Item 14 update. I couldn’t take it anymore and dropped Verizon. Of course, on the scheduled de-installation date, they didn’t show up. The customer service rep told me she could re-schedule it – another time block of 8 to 5. Are they friggin kidding? After getting very irate, they assured me that someone would be at my house at 9:AM the next day to pick up the junk, which they did. I still haven’t received a final bill, and am continually bugging them about the final bill and account closeout so they don’t mess up my credit rating due to their stupidity. A couple of days ago (I cancelled over a month and a half ago), I received a $100 American Express gift card to thank me for signing up with them. Amazing. I’m now back with the great evil Comcast, and am actually getting the 16 Mbps that they are advertising, and haven’t had a problem yet. To compare the two services, the only thing better about Comcast is that they have HD on demand content, which Verizon does not.

  16. Why switch providers ?? We switched providers with our cell phone service to Verizon and have been very happy .. soooo I decided to inquire about FIOS service in our area – landline, TV and internet .. talked to a customer service rep .. got pricing, was told NUMEROUS times the pricing was not a promotional deal, but for the life of my service .. arranged install date etc .. IT’S BEEN A DISASTER EVER SINCE .. all 3 services are up and working very well now – better internet speeds than Comcast, clearer picture on TV than Comcast etc .. but the INCONVENIENCE/TIME SPENT makes me question how a huge company like Verizon, offering new products, soliciting new customers can be so incompetent in almost every dept with miscues and misinformation ..
    What recourse as a consumer do I have and where can I get a NAME AND ADDRESS of someone who I can mail a certified letter to go on record with my experience ..
    Thanks .. CW

  17. My experience with FIOS has been similar to those above. The actual service I get is the 15/2, and when performing speed tests, I routinely get exacty that, no more no less, unless it’s across my wireless network, and then it’s an internal bottleneck, and not Verizon’s issue.
    I have the FIOS TV/HDDVR as well, and have been pretty pleased with it. Other than some ocasional erroneous scheduling, and a bit of a flaky DVR (sometimes it simply behaves oddly, starting in the middle of the show, it jumps around, and the unit’s response to the remote control is attrocious, other devices are fine, but the DVR is VERY slow to respond to the remote, even within 8-10 feet) Another thing I’m not pleased about is the tiny selection of retail-style routers availale. I have to chain my Vonage off of their unit, as their unit MUST be first in line, and their is little to no VoIP optimization on their 4 year old model. Thus my Vonage performance is mediocre.
    However, I love the service, and the speed is impressive, TV and internet both. My chief complaint is BILLING. I used to have Verizon phone service, which for an average month was $60 including no long distance minutes. NOT spectaular. When I switched to the FIOS for internet, I switched to Vonage, which at 14.95/month (17.87 billed) is a big money saver, and is crtainly a better value than the chintzy $10/month discount for being a bundled customer. So I lose the discount, but am still $30/month to the good for cheaper phone through Vonage. But now comes the fun part. Since I no longer have a Verizon phone line, I have to present a credit card for service, since they can’t/won’t bill me directly. This goes for both the FIOS TV, and Internet. So I have to go through TWO seperate processes to pay for my ‘bundled’ services! Not only that, but when one of my cards expired, and I was issued another, I found I can’t even SEE my FIOS TV charges on-line! Nor pay them if I so choose. There is virtually NO FIOS TV support on-line, all I can find is marketing and sales material, which, as an existing customer, is worthless for me. Now I have gotten TWO letters from collection agencies, because I ‘hadn’t paid my Verizon FIOS TV bill’ but when I call Verizon to check up on things, I’m told everything is ok with my account! A while back, I tried to get myself on their One-Bill system, but it was going to take 2 MONTHS to get everything together(all internal to Verizon), and by then I decided to drop the phone service, without which you cannot get unified billing at all….from a company providing ‘bundled’ services?!
    I love the FIOS TV and the internet, but their billing is worse than fly-by-night, it is utterly dis-coordinated and potentially dangerous from a consumer/credit perspective (I don’t like collection agencies having my name for no reason) If they don’t get their act together soon, I will buy substandard service from another company who has their AR a bit more together.
    Oh, and as a point of info, I was told from now on my house will be fiber, not copper, and going back would not happen. They are using this opportunity to upgrade their connections, and future connections will ride copper to the demarc, and then be switched to fiber. Of course, if you lose power, the little UPS they put in for the fiber end-point won’t last forever, so if you lose power, you WILL lose phone too eventually, not like a copper line, where the power is transmitted via the copper wires.

  18. This is a follow up to posts 14 and 17,,,OMG….I thought I was done with them. Tonight I received a bill from Verizon for $850.00 for equipment they say I did not return. It’s been 8 months! Luckily, I made them come out and pick it up and give me a receipt, I’m glad I didn’t ship their junk UPS like they wanted, I am awestruck by the utter incompetence of Verizon.

  19. One of the major problem using FIOS is not hardware or software, but it is dealing with their billing. For three month I am trying to straight their mess and I wasn’t able to do so. Major mistakes. Most of their agents are trained well to provide lies and misinformation. I am going back to comcast. It was a great mistake when I signed up for FIOS. Watch your bill. The $99.00 will mushrone and with very short time it will trible. When you ask who to complain to, no one, no office or human being to meet. It is nighmare. My sincere advise stay away from Verizon FIOS. Thanks AIM

  20. I had a problem from day one! I had the tv and internet service installed on 1/26/08, the on demand never worked, after multiple calls with tech support and billing (because although i subscribed to all of the packages i wasn’t enrolled in on demand) I decided to cancel my service on 1/31/08. To my surprise I was billed $141 directly to my debit card (no bill received and i did not sign up for auto payments) on 2/12/08 for future tv service. When I explained to them i had already returned the boxes, they assured me i would be refunded within 24-48 hours. After countless phone calls a few times a week I still have yet to be refunded. They come up with one solution or reason after another, managers as well and nothing gets resolved. Tonight I called 20 minutes before closing.. because they have great hours for the billing dept. 8-5pm they transferred me from agent to agent until i received a “we’re closed” message. I have sent about 20 emails and none of them have been responded to… I have filed a complaint with the BBB however, I have heard nothing. The internet service however (i’m using right now) has been without a hitch.. is faster than comcast and no complaints.

  21. I currently have Comcast TV and internet. I had heard for a while that Verizon was installing FIOS in my town and I was interested in getting it (and I’m a true Comcast hater!). I had heard from other people that the service was great; TV picture was better and download speed was great. It’s been about 5 years since I’ve had a Verizon service. I dropped their phone service for VOIP thru ATT. I was sick and tired of paying $100/month phone bills. I received a letter from Verizon stating that FIOS was available in my neighborhood and after thinking about it, I said why not? So I called the 1-800-GET-FIOS number on January 31st. Ordered the triple play and got an installation date of March 7th. Since then, I received an email and two voice mails confirming my installation date. On March 6th, a day before installation, I call up the local Verizon office to add the international calling plan to my phone service. I gave the Verizon representative my order number who then preceded to say that he could not find my order number. I gave him my address and phone number and he put me on hold for about 5 minutes. He then came back that there is no order number for installing FIOS at my home and that nobody is scheduled to come to my home on March 7th. I sent him the email confirming the order and installation. He kept on telling me he can’t find any order for me. I looked up the order online and saw that the order was cancelled on March 5th at 4:35pm. I kept on asking him why it was cancelled and he kept on repeating that he didn’t know because he can’t find the order. I told him I was looking at it online right now (PA00007385981). Needless to say, I had to go through the whole ordeal of order process again. He said he had an installation day available April 9th but was pushing back on the installation supervisor. (like he was doing me a favor) They got me for installation for March 19th. Of course, I was totally pissed. I had taken a day off of work for no reason and the order was fine until 2 days before installation. I could not believe that my order was never put in and I’m thinking now if they just overbooked installations and arbitrarily cut people off for that day. I’m wondering if I should just cancel the order. Is this indicative of the service I’ll receive in the future? It’s like picking the better of two evils. Comcast or Verizon.

  22. I think that the Verizon growing pains are worst now more than ever. My FiOS installation was scheduled for 3/26/2008 from 8:00-5:00PM and they were a no-show. They cancelled my order because I wasn’t a current Verizon phone customer and someone made a mistake on my order preparation. Verizon customer service is horrendous. The wait times are extremely long and they fail to call you back as promised. Now 24 hours later I get an e-mail say “we’re sorry we couldn’t complete your Verizon FiOS Internet and TV installtion on the originally schedule date. Please call us at 1-888-553-1555”. Like a fool I called at 5:45PM. At 6:05 PM a customer rep answered but told me the “Fiber Center” just closed. What the #$%@ does that mean! At least Comcast can discuss a botched appointment or schedule an appointment after 6:00PM.
    If only Comcast would add BBC World I’d be happy. Now that many of my neighbors have jumped to FiOS, Comcast Internet smokes! No tiling, sound drops, other problems on digital cable, excellent quality. They just initiated a new rewards program and dropped my “Premier” bundle $30 a month, thanks to FiOS competition.
    Also, based on a couple of stories from two of my coworkers, NEVER mail a Verizon STB back to Verizon. One person was charged for 4 STBs, for four months, when they only had three and went through hell trying to resolve it. Doesn’t Verizon have any customer service locations in large metro areas? Trying to straighten out a Verizon problem can be a nightmare.
    Verizon, I surrender! Guess I’m stuck with Comcast and no BBC World. Too bad a company that can deploy an advanced Fiber to the home network so efficiently and quickly, can’t get their ordering, billing, and problem tracking systems up to snuff.

  23. Verizon got me also by lying about their price after two years they raised my price from 35$ to 47$ at a slower speed. My credit card expired, just the date not the numbers. (Vontage notifyed us before there was a problem) I had to resign at the higher price just to keep the phone on. because of the vonage and xbox 360 contracts.
    A year ago lighting went off over my house, and because verizon ran the ethernet cable around the outside of my house it took out my router, xbox 360, vonage box, and computer ethernet. The router was supose to stop it but it did’nt. Verizon would not stand behind their mistake.
    I guess its back to Comcast in a year.

  24. I’ve had nothing but trouble with my FiOS Internet,and, TV. I’ve a number of broken promises and, still lose my internet connection on a regular basis. I was promised an additional $100 gift card for my trouble. Hasn’t happened. Upload speed was to be 10 as standard before my installation. Hasn’t happened. Been offered 10kb upload for $5 a month. Again hasn’t happened. Lose my internet connection when I put my computer to sleep or shut it down. A call to Verizon tec support led to a comment that Verizon wasn’t yet ready for dealing with Apple computers. That’s nice. Gave a piece of mind to a Verizon door to door survey taker with the promise that he would have the district manager contact me. Again,hasn’t happened. That was a month and half ago. I don’t think they want to deal with me.

  25. I have been a FIOS customer since February, 2008. I was told that I would be receiving a free flatscreen television with a 2 year commitment.
    I have called their customer no-service department at least 10 times over the past few months, and have received a completely different story each time.
    1 – Wait for a card to come in the mail – never came.
    2 – Your name was never entered in the system. Now it has and you should be receiving your TV shortly.
    3 – You were never signed up for this promotion, you are instead getting a $10 credit off of each bill.
    4 – You were never signed up, but you are eligible for a $100 Amex gift card – due to ship in 6-8 weeks.
    I have completely had it with this company. The service itself is great, the billing and customer service is ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS. I have warned all co-workers and friends to avoid FIOS like the plague.
    Cablevision offered to pay the early termination fee, and I am calling them to sign back up with Cablevision and cancel FIOS.

  26. Signed up for Fios (TV and internet only) in February 2009. The installers in our area cannot (or will not) run the fiber under the front walk, cut a hole hole in the concrete next to the house in order to bring the fiber in where the other utilities enter the home. They want to instead have it enter the home near the front step – I don’t want utilities entering my home within a few feet of the front door. So am canceling Fios – if I can get a live person to speak to. As if!!!
    Oh yeah, when trying to sign up for Fios I tried with a live customer “service” person, for whom English was clearly a second language and who told me there was not service in my area. Knowing that Fios cable was installed on our block last summer in a painfully messy process, I ordered Fios online.
    Comcast has nothing to worry about from Verizon!

  27. Hi, let me tell you how much Verizon sucks!
    For starters, the install got screwed up! I have a business and was switching 3 lines over. We open at 10. Wouldn’t you know the install guy showed up prior to our opening and prior to when I arrived, at 9 a.m. Verizon had shut off my phone lines, in lieu of the install, which of course then, did not happen! Nothing like being in biz with your phone lines SHUT OFF going into a weekend!
    So after tons of my time to call and scream at them to correct the issue and get phones back on (they promised they’d get someone out later that day-never happened. the install guy called and was not sympathetic and claimed he was not in my area and took no blame for the screw up and nobody came out) and another date set, the install happened. The new install guy was nice, however he cut through my exterior floor stud when he made the hole to bring cables inside. That’s not a smart move, considering all he had to do was come up an inch or so to miss it entirely, and cutting through a horizontal stud like that could potentially create a weak spot in the wall, since he literally severed the stud with the hole.
    I have had all sorts of problems, from call forwarding errors to my line issues where other companies faxes in my area would ring on my main line, to internet strength issues and more.
    Now, I signed up for a package deal, 3 lines and internet for 120$ per month. That’s what I was charged, for many months, however, internet did not show up on my bill. I called and spoke with a rep. letting her know the issue, that I was concerned this could cause a problem down the road long after. I was promised the issue would be fixed, it never was. Sometimes when I called, I would be asked, do you get a separate bill for internet or not, as apparently there were many who do not get a separate bill and signed up on the all-inclusive plan as I did.
    15 mos later, the internet was mysteriously shut off. I called and complained and they worked to put it back up. However There was not a single tech who knew how to start my system, apparently I have some rare pak from mars. can you believe it? I spent 4 hours on the phone the first day, 8 hours the second day, before finally finding someone who could get it restarted!
    Now, to my chagrin, I was billed a setup fee, and 59.99 per month on top of my other charges! Grrrrrr… I am very pissed off now! lol
    IS anybody else having similar problems???? Please email me.. bigbuzi@yahoo I’m in PA, and considering taking legal action, preferably with some other verizon subscribers.

  28. Verizon’s subcontractors damaged my electric cable and I had a basement flood when the electricity went out. Verizon and its subcontractors are refusing to take responsibility since July 2008 – one year later the landscaping and basement damages remain unrepaired with the response from Verizon that it’s the subcontractor’s responsibility (who fail to respond) and I could take legal measures. THIS ISN’T FAIR!

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